Sib Kumar Das

State government yet to convene all-party meet to initiate peace process

Political motive outweighed the real issue

The Congress does not seem to be united in its peace efforts

BERHAMPUR: Although political shouts are on for harmony in Kandhamal district, the political parties in the State are yet to be united for it.

Political leaders of all non-BJP political parties could not get together even to hold joint peace marches in Kandhamal district. The State units of the CPI (M) and CPI had tried hard for holding joint peace marches in different parts of Kandhamal district for communal harmony. But political motive outweighed the real issue.

On October 10 and 11, the Left, NCP, Samrudha Odisha and other Opposition parties got together to take out peace rallies in troubled areas of Kandhamal district. They held peace marches and street corner meetings at Phulbani, Tikabali, Baliguda, Raikia, G.Udaygiri and Daringbadi. But the Congress played truant and backed out of the joint effort at the last minute.

According to State secretariat member of the CPI (M), Ali Kishore Patnaik, they had even written the name of Congress on the banners, which they had to erase. But on October 12 the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) led by its president organised a separate peace march in Phulbani, the district headquarter town on Kandhamal. The Congress also did not seem to be united in its peace efforts. The former chief minister and leader of the opposition in the State Assembly, J.B. Patnaik did not attend the peace march. He reached Kandhamal district on Monday on a two-day visit.

Communal harmony

The CPI (M) and CPI leaders had also invited the BJD to take part in the all-party peace march they had planned. But the party had not responded to the request. Now the BJD is also planning to hold separate peace marches in Kandhamal district. It may be noted that the BJD-BJP government in the State is yet to convene an all-party meeting to initiate peace process in Kandhamal.

To initiate the process of unity of non-BJP parties over the matter of communal harmony, the CPI (M) and the CPI had mooted the idea of joint peace marches at a meeting held in Bhubaneswar on October 4. They had however preferred to keep the BJP out of the process as it was alleged to be an instigator of communal flare up. The second meeting for this joint peace process was held on October 6, which was not attended by the BJD although it was also invited to be part of the peace process. According to sources on October 8, the Congress leaders had given their consent to take part in the joint rally. But it seemed joint peace efforts did not interest the mainstream parties like the Congress and the BJD.